Blog: Learning to chip proved that golf can be fun
This week I learnt how to chip and actually really enjoyed it..! There is more strategy involved in chipping as one can actually see the flag and hence something to aim for (figuratively and literally).
At the start of the lesson Chris Parker, (senior instructor at Leeds Golf Centre), placed a hoop on the ground between me and the flag and told me to chip into that, with the idea being that the ball would “roll out” towards the flag. This seemed pretty logical to me. I found if I imagined how much power I would need to throw the ball into the hoop that that was generally the right amount of power needed to hit the ball near the hoop.
Of course it wasn’t really that simple…
Chipping involves learning a new posture (aka more things to remember). The desired posture is as followed: legs closer together, arms straight (to make a Y with the golf club), ball lined up with the inside of the right foot and a slight lean to the left, (just to make your cramped body position even more comfortable).
Despite my complaining I did enjoy myself, there is something so satisfying about getting the position and the swing strength just right so when you hit the ball it makes that beautiful “whack” noise, sails into the air and LANDS WHERE IT’S SUPPOSED TO. Not that that happened very often of course.
Chris had me practise at different distances to the green; we started out closer and got further away. Irritatingly, the further we got from the green the worse I got. I couldn’t seem to figure out how to get somewhere between “full swing” and “long chip” so I’d either smack it too far, barely tap it or miss altogether.
Now that I’d got the swing strength right I just needed to sort out why it kept veering off to the right. Chris gave me some respite in the form of a demonstration of the swing I should be doing. This, paired with a moments pause to un-cramp my hands, did seem to help and I ended up whacking it just far enough.
Now that I’d got the swing strength right I just needed to sort out why it kept veering off to the right. After six successive shots that all went off to the right I started aiming slightly left, which seemed to me to be the logical solution to this problem but because golf makes no sense this did not seem to help.
As I was beginning to stamp my feet like an angry rabbit Chris intervened and said that it was actually my grip that was causing my ball to swerve off to the right.
This seemed like the most pernickety problem ever and I thought at first that he might have been joking, but no, apparently a little thing like gripping the club wrong can cause your ball to fly off at all angles. My incorrect grip caused my clubface to be slightly open when it made contact with the ball, hence causing the mishit.
I MEAN, REALLY, IT’S NO WONDER NO ONE CAN PLAY THIS GAME.
After Chris corrected my grip, I managed to prove his point by getting a hole in one.
Maybe I am getting the hang of this golfing lark after all…
To read about previous lessons click here.
Image credit: Getty Images, Michelle Wie being brilliant at chippping.